Music in x0
Music is an important part of each book in 46. Ascending because I believe that one important characteristic of a person is the music they enjoy. So how could I not feel the same way about my characters? I think about how idealistic Lola likes classical rock with lyrics about things that matter, just like she follows the news and cares about issues and loves her garden and her family and the color deep red. I was able to put together my character’s own distinctive list of favorite songs, the following nine of which are woven into her story.
- “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper and Hyman Robert Andrew (1984)
- “We are the World” by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie (1985)
- “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield (1967)
- “Brain Damage” by Pink Floyd (1973)
- “High Hopes” popularized by Frank Sinatra, (1959 film)
- “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor (1978)
- “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes (1993)
- “O.D.O.O“. by Fela Kuti (1989)
- “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley (1977)
When my books appear on Kindle, I link the song title in my text to the chance to purchase it on Amazon. My other electronic versions are distributed through Smashwords where no such link is allowed. I’ve tried different approaches but have finally settled on finding a live performance that I think shows a little of a the personality of the singer and the band. I’ll admit that I’ve had a lot of fun seeking these out. Often the quality of the video isn’t as good as the more glossy clips, but I’ve picked each one for a reason.
I have removed most of the references to the music in the paperback version, but both the songs and their context within the story can be found below. Interested readers who do seek out these links are encouraged to support the artists and websites.
What follows is a little description of how each song is referred to in the book. Then there is a short excerpt from the chapter that contains the reference to that music, and then my favorite video of the song and why I chose it. Finally there are links to places to buy the music and/or learn more about it. Interested readers who do seek out these links are encouraged to support the artists and websites. Enjoy!
1.”Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper and Hyman Robert Andrew (1984) is one of Lola’s favorite songs and she frequently hums it while she prospects for oil and gas using the 3D visualization techniques on her computer. She always thought that the lyrics said “If you’re lost and you look you will find it, time after time ” which made it a great song to prospect by. It turns out that the lyrics actually say “you will find me.” But Lola still loves the song.
Over the next few weeks, Lola finished working her way through the interpretation of the small structure located in one corner of her company’s lease. As happened so often in the oil business, her company had subleased the drilling rights from another company which had done so from another company, and now the term of the lease was near expiration and either a well would need to be drilled soon or the lease would need to be relinquished untested.
Because of the convenient fact that oil floats on water (check your salad dressing), one looks for oil in high places where the tiny coarse rock grains have enough spaces in between them to hold a good bit of oil. A rock with ten percent of its volume as space is a good rock to someone in Lola’s profession. Find the highest spot in it, put a nice tight rock like shale above it, which has virtually no spaces into which the wily oil can sneak out over the eons, and someone like Lola gets the message. Drill here.
This part of her job sat somewhere between treasure hunting and puzzle solving, and Lola had to admit that her day-to-day work would not have made a bad 3D video game if someone added a little bit of music and some glossy effects. And, okay, maybe a car chase or two. Lola enjoyed herself as she twisted and turned her 3D visualization of the rocks on her computer screen, humming as she looked for shifts in the rock layers known as faults.
“If you’re lost you can look / And you will find me / Time after time.”
Cyndi Lauper’s 1984 hit Time After Time had once been a favorite of hers, and now that Lola thought about it, it made good music to prospect by. She was surprised she hadn’t remembered the song for years. She sang a little louder.
“If you fall I will catch you / I’ll be waiting—”
“Time after time.” Bob, the older engineer in the group, joined in her song as he walked by her door. “Geez Lola,” he said, “I’ve had that song in my head all damn morning. What are you doing singing it?”
“No idea. Maybe we listened to the same radio station on the way to work?” she guessed.
“I only listen to my iPod,” he replied.
Personally, if I had to pick a single song as my favorite ever, it probably would be “Time After Time.” It’s not a decision I can defend, because, well, you can’t. You like what you like, you love what you love. Anyway, it makes sense that “Time After Time” would be the very first song I linked to in my first electronic novel.
A little over a year ago, when I gave each of my first three books a light edit and re-evaluated the links to the each of the songs, I was so happy to stumble upon this simple but stunning version of Cyndi Lauper performing “Time After Time” live on the sixth season of Australian Idol in 2008.
Enjoy the video.
You can purchase a digital version of “Time After Time” from Amazon. Note that the lyrics to TIME AFTER TIME were used by permission in the book x0. (Words and Music by ROB HYMAN and CYNDI LAUPER Copyright 1983 DUB NOTES and RELLLA MUSIC CORP. All Rights for DUB NOTES Administered by WB MUSIC CORP. All rights on behalf of Rellla Music Corp. administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, 8 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203. All rights reserved.)
2. “We are the World” by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie (1985). This song was released the year that Lola and Alex were married and the Zeitmans quickly became big fans of the USA for Africa effort to raise money to fight starvation in Africa. When Michael Jackson died in June 2009, his role in both the song and the fundraising are what come to Lola’s mind after she learns of his death.
On June 25, Michael Jackson died. Although none of the Zeitmans were devoted fans, all five mourned the loss of a talented, troubled man who had written songs that they had enjoyed. Lola noted with interest that so many people accessed the internet in search of more details about his death, or even just in search of shared comfort, that several major websites became unusable for a while. What a force we can be en masse, she thought.
While she found herself humming snippets of his music for days afterward, she mostly sang to herself the one song of his that she had liked best of all. Forty-three other musical stars had joined in to sing his 1985 collaboration with Lionel Richie called “We are the World”, with over sixty million dollars in proceeds donated to fight starvation in Africa.
She could still see in her mind the video of Michael in the black jacket with the gold sequins, his sparking white glove undulating to the music while he sang the first rendition of the chorus. Lola thought that when Cyndi Lauper quipped that the lyrics sounded like a Pepsi commercial, she had a point. There was no deep meaning here. Just a hell of a great idea. “We are the world.”
Due to the number of artists involved and various claims of copyright infringement, videos of this song being performed are few and far between, and are often removed from the internet. Enjoy the version below, which has been viewed over forty-seven million times.
3. The first time that Lola learns of the complex and sometimes destructive history of oil exploration in Nigeria, the song “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield (1967) begins to play in her head. The haunting tune and veiled warnings of this forty year old song perfectly fit the troubled tone of the news article that she is reading and also describe the feelings of helplessness and anger that learning of this history produces.
Lola turned to the major news outlets and found that British news, particularly the BBC, did a far better job of covering news from Africa that any U.S. source that she could find. Reading through BBC articles, Lola learned that less than a month ago, on June 30, Amnesty International had released a report calling the years of pollution and environmental damage in the Niger Delta a “human rights tragedy.” The report claimed that the oil industry had caused impoverishment, conflict, and human rights abuses in the region, that the majority of cases reported to Amnesty International related to Shell, and that Shell must come to grips with its legacy in the Niger Delta. The report noted that Shell Petroleum Development Company is and has been the main operator in the Niger Delta for over fifty years and is also facing legal action in The Hague concerning repeated oil spills that have damaged the livelihoods of Nigerian fisherfolk and farmers.
Lola found Buffalo Springfield’s 1967 hit “For What It’s Worth” starting in her head while she read the news article on the internet on her lunch break. Was it because the song’s haunting tune and warnings fit the troubled tone of the story? Or maybe she had just heard Bob whistling the refrain in the break room….
In the article, the BBC went on to report that Shell had defended itself in a written statement provided to the BBC arguing that “about eighty-five percent of the pollution from our operation comes from attacks and sabotage that also puts our staff’s lives and human rights at risk. In the past ten days we have had five attacks.” The Shell response added that “in the last three years, gangs have kidnapped one hundred and thirty-three Shell Petroleum Development Company employees and contractors while five people working for our joint venture have been killed in assaults and kidnappings in the same period.”
The general insecurity in the area, according to Shell, is what prevents it from running maintenance programs that might otherwise be run. Meanwhile, militants in the Niger Delta say they stage attacks on oil installations as part of their fight for the rights of local people to benefit more from the region’s oil wealth. Others argue that the attacks are staged mostly for the attackers’ financial gain.
Lola read the article with sadness, feeling for so many individuals now trapped on multiple sides of a bad situation. She had no trouble believing that Shell had behaved poorly, maybe even abysmally, decades ago, destroying the livelihoods of Nigerians they probably had barely noticed. But today, she needed an armed guard in Lagos to go from the hotel to the office. Who was in the right? How did one solve this sort of mess?
When it comes to this classic, one has a lot of fine video performances to chose from. Dates range from 1967 through a live Buffalo Springfield performance at Bonaroo in 2011, not to mention a wealth of covers by notable artists and several moving montages created on YouTube showing scenes form the Vietnam War and various protests. I decided to step out of the box on this one and link to the original Buffalo Springfield performing way back when on the Smothers Brothers show. This clip will remind you of just how young these guys were when they wrote this song, and of the goofy humor of that era in the midst of the turmoil. Enjoy!
4. “Brain Damage” by Pink Floyd (1973) is the first song that Lola hears after she becomes a full fledged telepath. The lyrics cause her to reconsider telling friends and family about her new abilities. She also once lost $20 to a friend betting that the song was named “The Dark Side of the Moon.” It isn’t of course.
By the time she had made it to frozen foods, every person in the store had a song to sing. A story to tell. The vague and sometimes annoying feelings she had picked up from folks in the past were gone, and Lola felt like a person with horrible vision who had just been given a pair of good glasses or a person with very poor hearing who suddenly was wearing the best of hearing aids.
It was true that most of what was coming at her was boring. His feet hurt. She was annoyed with her child. He was annoyed he had to work today. Right. He was missing the football game. Lola laughed. People were preoccupied, tired, worried, looking forward to some later event, thinking about sex, and one guy in aisle seven was thinking seriously about beating the shit out of someone at work tomorrow. Lola, knowing that most thoughts don’t result in actions, decided that without more evidence of intent she should just leave people be. And she did. She could. She practiced. Tone up the intensity. Tone down the intensity. That worked. She could do it.
Not all the thoughts were admirable, but amid the petty and the complaining Lola had to admit that there was an underlying hum of just wanting to love and be loved. To be left in peace. To have a little fun. To have worries solved and some joy at the end of the day. She figured she shared the grocery store that day with forty or so other souls, and she could honestly wish each one well and move on. It was all going to be okay.
She smiled instinctively at the checkout clerk as she finished, and felt the girl’s blip of joy at the smile. That was surprising. Lola’s smile, an unconscious reflex she often found annoying because it was so habitual, apparently sometimes brought other folks a bit of happiness. Interesting.
Then, just as she was leaving, some lady in produce started singing to herself. Wouldn’t you know it, Lola laughed. She had lost twenty dollars once betting that there was a Pink Floyd song called the “Dark Side of the Moon.” There isn’t, of course, just a 1973 album with that name, and a perfectly wonderful song called “Brain Damage” which talks about a lunatic inside the singer’s head and mentions the dark side of moon.
As Lola listened to the eerie lyrics, she decided they were a little too close to the mark. Probably time to get home and take a break. As she headed out of the store, she couldn’t help singing along.
Driving home, she gave some thought to her next obvious problem. It looked like Jumoke had been right. Thanks to some combination of the Igbo woman and the canoe incident, she had become a telepath. Why had it taken so long? Maybe for the last couple of months the PTSD, or maybe the medication, or maybe both, had suppressed her symptoms. No, abilities, she told herself. This is not a disease. You have abilities, not symptoms.
At any rate, if this was now the way she was, should she tell Alex? Her children? Her sister? In one sense it seemed only fair, but in another she doubted she’d be believed, no matter how much they loved and trusted her. That was until she demonstrated the truth of what she was saying, which now that she thought about it could be harder than she thought. She could not do card tricks. Tell me what I’m thinking. What she could do was pick up the real driving emotion they were feeling at the time and if she was lucky it looked like she could pick up a few facts related to that emotion as well. Which meant that she would probably just pick up disbelief. And worry. And maybe a little fear because whether she was telepathic or not, the fact that she thought she was meant there was something to be concerned about one way or another. Pointing out the presence of these emotions was hardly going to constitute compelling evidence to any of the fine folks in her immediate circle.
So what was the hurry? First, she should probably learn more about this and how it affected her and her life. The lyrics to Brain Damage kept playing in her head. It was true. Having people think that one is crazy seldom ends well.
I don’t usually go for “fan-made” videos with the lyrics, but I was fascinated by this fan’s recording of a live performance of Pink Floyd with assorted images and the lyrics to “Brain Damage” superimposed on the concert footage. It’s creative, and eerie. Enjoy!
5. When Lola tries to think of a song that will provide Nwanyi with encouragement, the first piece of music that pops into her head is the late 50’s classic “High Hopes“. This song, which most people associate with an ant moving a rubber tree plant, was first popularized by Frank Sinatra, with music written by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Sammy Cahn. It was introduced in the 1959 film A Hole in the Head.
Lola savored the feeling of Somadina’s friendship. She’d had so few women friends over her adult life. She’d been too busy with work, with Alex, with the kids. Too often there had been so little in common. And here was a woman, for heavens sake barely older than Lola’s own daughter and a world away in every sense of the word. Yet in her hearty self-sufficiency, in her attachment to her child, her loyalty to her sister, and in her good fortune in attracting the affection of a genuinely good man, they had more in common than Lola had with most women she knew.
Lola reached back with a mental equivalent of a hug.
We are both strong telepaths, she thought, knowing that Somadina would pick up the feeling and fill in words which were close enough to the meaning to get the point. We know that Nwanyi is at least a weak receiver herself after all of her association with you. At least Olumiji thinks so. Let’s try to send her a message together. Sort of doubling the transmitting power, if you will. Lola felt Somadina’s confusion over the last phrase. She tried again. Let’s push together. An image of two women pushing a large rock. Somadina got it.
Music, Somadina suggested. Nwanyi and I both like music. American music.
Okay. Let’s pick a song to encourage her. Lola thought for minute, and tried singing something in her head. Out came a song from her childhood, Frank Sinatra’s hit High Hopes about an over-achieving ant trying to move a houseplant.
What is that? Somadina asked. Don’t you know any rock and roll?
Yikes. She didn’t think there was a rock song that was particularly encouraging about someone surviving.
Enjoy this video of Frank Sinatra singing High Hopes with what must have been a group of school children from the 50’s or early 60’s. It is guaranteed to put a giant grin on your face.
You can also buy this song at Amazon.com.
6. “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor (1978). Lola and her younger sister Summer sang a karaoke duet of this song together one night in 1988 after several margaritas. Their rendition hardly did this fine song justice and Lola has not sung karaoke since. However, when she searches her memory for a song to communicate telepathically to give Nwanyi strength and hope, it is not surprising that this is the song that comes to mind.
Nwanyi awoke to music so real she thought that the radio must have been moved for some odd reason to the back of the house. It was playing “I Will Survive”, an old American pop song she had heard often. As she became more awake she realized that it was accompanied in her head with the oddest of visions. Somadina was singly loudly, belting out the song with all her heart, as though her life depended on her singing. Standing next to her, with her arm around Somadina’s shoulders, was a crazy looking white woman, with this long, wild, dark auburn hair, dressed in some sort of armor, with metal over her breasts and an odd helmet adorned with the horns of some beast. The white woman was giggling self-consciously while she sang, like she was embarrassed to find herself on stage but determined to stick it out with her friend. How had Somadina even found such a friend?
Nwanyi realized that they were looking hard directly at her while they sang. They were repeating the chorus over and over, but now the words seemed to have morphed and they were telling Nwanyi that she would survive. The sound and image faded as Nwanyi came fully awake, but the memory of the spontaneous karaoke performance in her head stayed with her all day. It made her smile, something she almost never did.
If this video of Gloria Gaynor singing “I Will Survive” superimposed with a clips of a a graceful yet vulnerable figure skater doesn’t have you standing up and yelling “Yes” by the end, then you really need to turn off your TV and give this your full attention while you watch it again. Better yet, stand up and twirl around yourself a few times and belt out a “I will survive” or two along with Gloria. You’ll feel better, I promise.
7. “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes (1993) is one of Lola’s all time favorite songs. She and her toddler daughter Ariel used to scream the lyrics together in the car on the way to day care Now, the song runs through Lola’s head whenever she encounters a situation that appears to be messed up beyond all repair.
Here is the excerpt from x0:
Lola’s coworkers did not discuss Nigerian politics with her much in the office unless Lola specifically brought something up, so it wasn’t until late in October when Lola was doing a lunchtime internet browse that she came across a BBC article from early October titled “Will amnesty bring peace to Niger Delta?”
Amnesty? That sounded hopeful. As she started to read, Bob walked by, singing in his head one of the many great oldies he had managed to amass on his iPod. Where did the man find so many good old songs?
“What’s Up?” had been the 4 Non Blondes’ 1993 hit, coming out the year that Ariel was four. Lola loved it, and the two of them had sung, actually, screamed it together whenever it came on the radio when Lola was driving little Ariel to preschool.
In her BBC article, Ms. Duffield described talking to taxi drivers, shopkeepers, and hotel clerks in the Niger Delta region who were all hoping for peace as they watched militants hold disarmament ceremonies which involved relinquishing guns, rocket-propelled grenades, explosives, ammunition, and gunboats. Gunboats??
And so I wake in the morning and I step outside And I take a deep breath and I get real high / And I scream at the top of my lungs / What’s going on?
The BBC article added that while no one appeared to have given up their entire arsenal, the quantity of weapons released, presumably for cash, was significant. Concerns had been raised that no independent monitors were tracking what was being done with the weapons, and this caused worry because in the past, corrupt officials had sold confiscated guns, which had then made their way back into the hands of a wide variety of criminals.
And I try / oh my god do I try / I try all the time, in this institution.
The article noted that another major obstacle to peace was that there were now thousands of young men in the region effectively unemployed, given that their previous full-time profession had been guerilla fighter. Their resumes included kidnapping, blowing up oil pipelines, and stealing massive amounts of crude oil.
And I pray / Oh my god do I pray / I pray every single day for a revolution.
The government plan, according to the article, was to retrain these young men in new skills. It noted that they were already being processed at centers where they were being asked about their other career interests. Other career interests??
The BBC said that retraining would be a daunting prospect, and that in the case of failure, the young men would likely return to their previous activities.
And I realized quickly when I knew I should / That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man / For whatever that means …
She looked at the photo of the giant pile of automatic weapons. Seriously, right now in Nigeria there were actually thousands of angry young men filling out employment questionnaires??
Twenty-five years and my life is still / Trying to get up that great big hill / Of hope … for a destination.
For this song, I have to post two videos. The first is the 4 Non Blonds performing their wonderful song. Enjoy.
The second video is from the Nexflix show Sense8 and it requires a little more explanation. Please allow me to insert a short post called “Sense8″ and “What’s Up?” to explain.
“You’ve got to watch this show. It’s just like your books!”
The first time this happened it was Heroes, which premiered in 2007, when the novel I had been toying with in my head for 20 years was starting to take shape. I’m the one who saw the loose connection with what I was trying to do as I watched this show about otherwise normal people with superpowers who were learning to cope with what they could do while learning to work together.
“Maybe I should give up now?“ I thought. “But no. The popularity of this show means people like this kind of stuff. Maybe it means I need to start writing.” So I did.
The next time it happened it was “Touch”, which premiered January 2012, less than a month before I released x0 on kindle. My daughter, who had already read x0 and a draft of y1, alerted me after she saw the show. “Mom, it is so much like what you are trying to say.“ I guess it was, kind of, and kind of not.
It turns out that I liked “Touch” even better than “Heroes”. It was a little more metaphysical, a little less about cool but unbelievable super powers. No flying, that sort of thing. To be honest I was proud that my daughter thought my ideas were in the same ball park. I saw every episode and was sad to see “Touch” go off the air in 2013.
Then last fall my son gave me the news. “There is this new show on Netflix and you’ve got to see it, Mom. It is so much like your books.” By this point he had read all five of them and I admit that I drug my feet on this last one. What if he was right and this story line was finally going to be the one that was too close to my own?
We got Netflix up and running on the new TV and settled into to watch episode one of “Sense8”. Once again, it was an intriguing metaphysical superpower story about the connections between all of us. I loved it, even more than I had loved “Touch” which I had loved even more than “Heroes”. Yes, yes it kind of was what I was trying to say but of course it kind of wasn’t too and of course it said it with completely different characters and story lines. I was coming to understand that my great themes were not exactly new and they could be told afresh many times and many ways, and the telling by others didn’t diminish my own message which would always be subtly my own.
And then I saw episode 4. If I had to pick one thing that will always and forever make me think of x0, it is “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes. I’ve loved this song since it came out in 1993, and as a new writer I wanted so badly to reference some of the lyrics in my book while I was writing about troubles in Nigeria and how they appeared to Lola in the U.S.
“No problem,” some people told me “Just use the lyrics.”
“Don’t even think of using them,” others warned.
I took the upright but truly naive approach of contacting the owners of the rights of the song. I was lucky, Sony/ATV Music Publishing owned all the rights. For two months in 2011 I negotiated with a wonderful Licensing Analyst named Lacey Chemsak who must have thought I was crazy as I haggled over fees and number of copies like I was negotiating an arms deal. In the end I paid Sony $200 to the use the text you will see at the end of this post. Was it worth it?
Logically no. Of course not. But we don’t live in a logical universe, do we? You see, on came episode 4 of Sense8, with the scene below. I stood up, surprised at hearing “my song” in this series. Then I stated to sing along and for one moment the interconnectedness of me and the Wachowskis and 4 Non Blondes and all the other people who see the interconnectedness of things and all the characters in Sense8 and those in my books and hell everybody in the whole world came together in my head, and tears ran down my face and it was better than being drunk or high or even having an orgasm because this was so fucking incredible and I couldn’t stop singing or crying.
“Look at you,” my husband said laughing because he didn’t know what else to say and then he looked at me again and didn’t say anything and just let me be.
The song finally ended and I wiped away my tears and felt kind of silly. It didn’t matter. My newly discovered connection to “What’s Up” and “Sense8” had been the best $200 I ever spent.
Now enjoy “What’s Up” as it appears in the show.
8. “O.D.O.O“. by Fela Kuti (1989) As Lola learns about Nigeria from her co-workers, she discovers the sounds of highlife and afrobeat. At first she has trouble appreciating these genres which sound so different from her own favorite tunes, but the more she hears them, the better she likes them. She also gains an appreciation for Fela Kuti’s struggles for justice in Nigeria and is delighted to find that musical about Fela Kuti’s life is opening on Broadway in late 2009.
On November 22, 2009, Fela! opened on Broadway, celebrating the life and music of Fela Kuti, a Nigerian composer and musician, and also a political activist and human rights advocate. The show featured the musical genre known as Afrobeat that Fela helped create.
Lola read the promotional material, which said that the musician had “defied a corrupt and oppressive military government and devoted his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity.” She went to YouTube and found and played O.D.O.O., one of Fela’s most well known songs. She wasn’t so comfortable with the web’s allegations of misogyny and his music wasn’t particularly to her taste, but she could appreciate its energy and intensity as well as Fela’s struggle for political freedom.
The most interesting thing was that once she found “the sound,” she realized that she had been hearing his music for months, simply shutting out that which she did not understand. Now that she knew of it, it was surprisingly easy to recognize his music when she heard it in someone else’s head. For indeed, one of her Nigerian coworkers listened to Fela’s Afrobeat music and its more recent derivatives for much of the day. Once Lola became aware of it, she heard it more. And the more she heard it, the better she liked it. Finally, she wondered if she could persuade Alex to see the musical with her.
Get a flavor for Afrobeat by enjoying this video of Fela performing O.D.O.O. (overtake don overtake overtake)
9. When Lola is at her most distraught, a fellow telepath provides her with a way to secure some surprisingly useful supplies and then he adds his own reassurance by singing a bit of the classic “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley (1977). The result? Lola becomes calm enough to do what needs to be done.
Lola absolutely did not want to go to New Zealand. But even more than that she did not want to miss her plane and then have to leave the secured part of the airport and try to figure out what else to do instead. So she did as instructed, and grabbed a quick copy of The Daily Telegraph at the newsstand on the left and was a little startled when the sales clerk actually did call to her as she turned to go.
“I, I think you left this miss.” The girl offered a small brown ladies handbag out to her.
“Thanks, yes.” She slipped her own purse onto Nwanyi’s shoulder and took the new bag. “Thanks so very much.”
She allowed herself to slow down enough to look inside while they walked. There was a wallet containing quite a few New Zealand twenty-dollar bills. Wow. She had been considering just staying put in Singapore, but decided against that option completely when she also found the little disposable cell phone bearing the logo of Vodaphone New Zealand. These folks were really looking out for her.
She dug further into the purse. More ibuprofen and lots of aspirin. Headaches must be a well-known part of this gig, she thought. At the bottom of the purse was the item that made her heart stop. Oh my. She knew this one. A little Beretta Bobcat. Her gun collecting and gun-loving father had bought her one for protection years ago, and the two of them had spent hours getting her familiar with the gun. As a girl she had shot rocks and tin cans with whatever her father gave her, like most kids did who grew up where she had, but this particular model had been his gift to her as a young woman, and he had wanted her to know it thoroughly. She’d kept it locked away for years now as Alex did not share her ease with guns, and he’d had little trouble convincing her that a house with teenagers and their friends was not a good environment for firearms. But still, she knew this gun, and though she had not touched a handgun in years, it was a comfort in her hand. Who was this guy who had met her anyway? Some sort of super-spy?
She felt a chuckle and saw her helper whose name she did not even know working on a pile of tax returns. He was a tax accountant? She felt a surge of gratitude for her unknown benefactor, and in return she felt a soft feeling of You’re welcome, and Be safe. She had a reassuring image of him heading over to say hello to an old friend who worked in airport security, and Lola had the distinct impression that his visit with his friend would last at least until the man was very sure that he could leave Heathrow safely himself.
As a final gift, she heard him softly singing the words to her favorite Bob Marley song ever, “Three Little Birds“. Nwanyi, who had been walking quietly, stopped and gave Lola a funny look. Lola realized with surprise that she had been so grateful to hear those lyrics assuring her that everything would be well that she hadn’t noticed that tears had started to run down her own cheeks.
There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy this 1977 classic online. One of my favorites manages to use Bob Marely’s original music, some video of him and his performances, and clever graphics and a story line to make this wonderful music come to life visually. Enjoy
One can also enjoy (and buy) the powerful version of this song performed by “Playing for Change.” The song is also available for purchase at Amazon.com.
Finally if you like the idea of face painting for world peace, please check out the very first recording at “Playing for Change” as a powerful group of folks sing and play instruments for world peace in this moving version of a song called “Don’t Worry“. This particular video isn’t specifically referenced in the book, but it captures Lola’s most fervent beliefs in a spectacularly moving fashion.
Why is music such a part of a book about telepathy?
As x0 explains: In modern society, popular music seems to have a surprising ability to transmit directly from mind to mind. One may hear a song “playing” in ones head, only to find that another person with mild receptive abilities will “hear’ the song also and start to whistle or hum it. This is frequently unsettling to people, and is often a person’s most concrete encounter with telepathy. (from “FAQ’s about telepathy at http://www.tothepowerofzero.org.)